Parrot care - US vs Europe

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Rozalka

Rozalka

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Wow, I didn't know this hot will be so hot...

Coming in late on this thread, but wow! Just, WOW!

I think so very many cultural and current issues are being demonstrated here. Firstly, there's COVID. Please don't tell me the atmosphere surrounding the virus isn't affecting the way people are thinking and feeling. Everyone's jug is full, everyone's wick is smouldering. I'm seeing arguments all over the world that would never have blown up so fiercely if not for lockdown blues. I think this is a good example.

Secondly, I think Rozalka's observance of the cultural divide is very accurate and well-considered. One poster commented 'To me personally, however, its important to remember that just because its cultural doesn't make it correct. Facts are facts.'

I think it's important to remember that 'facts' in the US may not equate to 'facts' in Asia or Australia or central Europe.

It seems to me that some folk treat their birds like family members (almost like surrogate children), giving them the best of medical care and the most absolutely perfect scientifically formulated diet available, sparing no effort to afford the same level of care they would their families. Others simply acquire an animal and treat it respectfully, but without the kind of fellow-feeling one might have for another human being.

Which is correct?

I dunno!

I've been a member here for quite a few years and have been vocal about what I think is shabby treatment of folk from countries other than the US, Canada, UK, Australia etc. I've seen numerous people from India and Pakistan driven away because of the cage they use, the diet they feed and their inability to find a vet (let alone a CAV). I've been virtually told to put a sock in it (that's Australian for 'shut up') because right is right and wrong is wrong and we can't allow people from Asia (or, to be fair, from anywhere) to be doing 'the wrong thing'.

Who gets to determine what 'the wrong thing' actually is?

I dunno!

I think you can 'know' as much as you like about optimum cage size, optimum diet, optimum veterinary care, but if these things simply aren't available to a member, what's to be gained by insisting he's doing wrong? All that does is drive him away from the group and leaves him to keep the bird in the same awful conditions without any input whatsoever to help him do better.

And then there's the elephant in the bird cage.

We all know perfectly well that parrots should not be kept in cages at all. Owning a cockatoo has taught me once and for all that no bird should be caged, no matter how spacious and well-appointed the cage might be. Birds were created to fly the skies, yet we confine them and cut off their feathers. They were born to fight and squawk and poop and forage and roost and flock together, yet we shut them into veterinarian-approved stainless steel cages and feed them scientifically-designed yuck and subject them to television, foul language, dogs, cats and children (and that's not counting the fumes from teflon, perfume, hairspray and a million other toxins in our homes).

But we know what's right, don't we? The CAVs have told us. Science has shown us. We feel it in our hearts.

I think we could all be a lot more accepting and tolerant than we are. I think it's not kind to assume we know better because we have Science on our side and I think we should all try to pull our heads in a bit (that's Australian for 'don't be quite so outspoken') when it comes to members from other nations.

Thank you for posting, Rozalka! :)
Good said. Facts are facts but understand in other ways in different parts of the world.


As you see - here we had an argue about meat for parrots. Last 1,5 month in every about two days I read about wild parrot life including their diet and next write articles for plWikipedia. I've never read about any meat so far... expect insects. I study enviromental protection and had zoology lessons. Each big animal needs a bit of meat, even typish leaf-eating like crows. But in general we say "leaf-eating" because this meat are just insects or worms which very often are eaten by mistake with leaves. And this is enough for leaf-eating animals. In opinion of my parents: we aslo are created as leaf-eating "animals" but since we started using fire we eat meat... but we don't have to. If an animal doesn't eat something in the wild, it doesn't need in capitive... I have just "egg food" (not sure how is called in English) where are some worms and I know this is enough amount of meat for parrots. In general parrots in the wild don't eat a lot of insects.


In answer to the questions about Polish CAVs - I've never heard about any (we have just avian vets) but it's not the reason to be very bad in aviculture. We abut to 2 of 3 countries which are said to have the greatest aviculture in Europe (they are the Czech Repubic and Germany, we don't abut with the Netherlands). We are worse than they but this makes easier comunication especially when somebody lives close to one of these countries. I noticed many Polish people (includnig me) read Czech articles and even concact with Czech breeders. Also, we have a bird magazine which is available only in two languages - Czech (original; I think some articles in Slovak, they are too simillar to translate) and Polish. We have Polish ornithologists, some are mentioned in foreign sites. Thanks to them we have own site "Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World" where classification is regularly updated. Belive me - in some cases the site is updated first before IOC World Bird List and IUCN. This case was when was created new genus Parviopsitta (probably I wrote incorrectly). At this moment there are some new genera of lories and lorikeets like Saudeos or Charminetta and few others and they aren't on IOC and any other English/American sites yet. I know they will be.



As I mentioned - I don't wanna any argue. I know for some people like Ira this is hard to understand (I have the same thoughts when I read that somebody feed with meat their parrots but I try being calm...). If somebody will try change my opinion I will have to ask super mods to close the thread to avoid an argue.
 
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Laurasea

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Rozalka

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I've heard about cockatoos eating lizards but this is rare. I don't write articles about all parrot species (eg all cockatoos species are already written there, expect white tailed black cockatoos and none of them was written by me, so I didn't really read). If meat actually was so important, then I would read somewhere about it. Each animal may do an expection and eat meat...
I forgot about keas. This is the most known case of parrot eating meat. But sheeps were introduced by people. Keas didn't use to attack sheeps before us. Also, this is a species which lives in high montains and they really need more protein. So I understand this case of attacking for meat.
 

Laurasea

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This is from the Smithsonian

“ Polly Wants Mutton, Too

Many parrots are omnivores and will eat pretty much anything—fruit, seeds, nuts, insects and even meat. Some species, like the rainbow-colored lories and lorikeets of the South Pacific, feed almost exclusively on nectar with brush-tipped tongues, though recently even these birds were seen eating meat at feeding stations in Australia. In New Zealand, native kea (Nestor species) were first observed attacking and killing sheep in 1868 and were persecuted as sheep-killers until 1986, when they were granted protected status.“

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/14-fun-facts-about-parrots-180957714/

“ Along with rainbow lorikeets, eastern and crimson galahs and cockatoos have also been spotted eating meat.

"It seems to be really widespread," Prof Jones said.”
 
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fiddlejen

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Regarding meat. I posted recently that my Sunny Loves turkey meat. !! At this point I avoid eating until after she is asleep...) Now obviously, even if turkeys somehow made it down to the natural habitat of the sun conures, they are clearly too small to take down & eat a turkey by themselves. But it has made me ponder... I wonder how many herbivorous species in the world would be carnivores, if only they had the option?

Did I intentionally experiment to find out if she likes meat? No, she had already shown she loves mayonnaise, so I thought she was just gonna have a couple licks of mayo from the turkey salad... she diverted to the meat... and who'd'a thunk it? Now when I open the fridge, she begs to check-out any container resembling the ones from the turkey-farm. (No, I doN't let her.) And, well I avoid fast-food since I try to stick to low-carb -- but IF I had fries for a treat, I would probably share. And I'd probably, very carefully, give her crumbs from a hamburger's BUN if she wanted. So, I guess that makes me a stereotypical American: IF I was eating fast food... I would share!

Anyway regarding the science. On the one hand - there seems to be much more knowledge available about best-practices than there were, say 20-years ago. Poison is Poison and Teflon is Deadly. Miners took canaries into coal mines to die for them and save the miners. We all do well to remember that.

On the other hand - there is SO Much we don't actually know. First, the Reality of how they live in the wild. How much has actually been studied? Do we know for Sure they don't actively Hunt larger bugs or tiny mammals or tiny other-birds? I have watched my little birdies standing upon their subdued millet or treat, looking exactly like tiny Raptors after a kill. How much do we truly know about how they Really do or do not live out their lives? They can fly so far and so fast - I don't think long term population behavior studies have really been done on a lot of species, have they? What we DO know, is that, just like in humans, their individual personalities can vary incredibly from each other, despite the standard commonalities within species. We also know the parrot-type birds (and, extrapolating, probably many or most other bird species) are INCredibly intelligent.

Beyond that - I know in different places there is different access to cages, care, etc. I am so glad I was able to get very large cages for mine. But, currently as work-at-home, it doesn't matter as Much. I got the largest cages I could, for them to live in while I was at work much of the day.

And I hate to see birds in smaller cages. IF IF a bird will be STuck INside a cage all the time and IF IF clipping its wingfeathers (conservative clipping, so it can safely glide!) would make it able to spend more of its time living OutSide its cage, inside house or apartment, but allowed much more freedom & autonomy than if it were fully-flighted, then isn't clipping better in such a case? Well, because I had a medical issue that occurred shortly after I got my Sunny, leading to exactly that choice, this has strongly influenced my thinking on the matter. I feel that in general, opinions on Clipping probably are (or, should be) Less Cultural - and, More Personal & situational.

And - as two clipping-relatec thoughts/questions potentially relevant to the intended discussion:

(1) What about poor birds that wind up stuck in small cage in someone's back room because they were never manageable - what if a period of clipping could have been utilized to have tamed them. Isn't that potentially the far better choice? For someone who may lacks the skill to tame a fully-flighted bird, but might otherwise be a loving owner of the bird they already have?

(2) I have read that in the past, wing-clipping was a much more permanent, horrific, mutilative practice. Is it possible this has influenced European/Asian opinion on the matter??

Thinking on cages, however, is going to be Largely influenced by Local Availability and Cost of Cages, as well as available Space for those Cages. This clearly will both influence and be-influenced-by the local Cultural norms. The same is true of veterinary services, and even food options.

I grew up on the edge of Baltimore City. Not necessarily considered a hotbed of diversity, and yet a surprising range of both under-the-surface as well as highly-visible cultural differences from one old-neighborhood to the next. (Often delineated simply by crossing a street.) I have relatives in Southern states, and also to the north; during my childhood, we would travel to visit annually. I spent time in the Midwest, and I now live in New England. Directness in one region or neighborhood could be incredible rudeness in another. And politeness in one area can be a rudely incomprehensible non-answer in another. (Sometimes aligning with expected north-south stereotypes, and sometimes almost the opposite.) And sometimes even neutrally discussing the differences I've observed, I have caused umbrage to folks who, having not experienced the differences themselves, took them as a criticism or negative-comment, even when entirely not-intended that way.

And, this is all within the same country! Speaking un-questionably the same English language, in-person & thus able to see and hear ones' tone-of-voice and facial expressions. Obviously we are going to have even more difficulties when facing translation, differences in language, historical differences (Thousands of years of accumulated parrot-ownership?? Not in the U.S.), and forum-based communication.

I, for one, thank you Rozalka, for starting this thread. I am sure there is more we can all learn from each other than we sometimes realize.

And I also want to say how appreciative I am every time Charmed translates a Singaporean post for the rest of us to understand, and even more so provides information that is Usable for a Singaporean or other non-US person.
 
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Laurasea

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I found this info, and agree parrot nutrition is evolving and ongoing as we try and improve quality and long living . Parrots are mostly classified as omnivorous, tho insects and their larva are mention d more than I find meat mentioned. I agree with the above my burds will target and steal meat from my plate.

“The basic diet should be supplemented with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy table food. Yellow and orange vegetables (squash, sweet potato, carrots, red peppers) and dark leafy green vegetables (cabbage, lettuce, rocket, herbs, etc...) are highly recommended. Berries, tropical fruits, pomegranates, apricots, oranges and kiwis are some examples of fruits that might be well appreciated by parrots. It is also important to vary the preparation of food items. They can be offered raw; a whole acorn squash into which treats are inserted through cut out windows becomes a foraging game, a source of physical activity as well as providing nutrients. Raw foods can be cut into strips and rolled into a 'bouquet' or a wrap, they can be cut into large chunks or tiny pieces distributed throughout the cage in several small feeding stations. Food items can also be cooked and prepared in a soup, in a stew, in a purée. The more the presentation is interesting for the bird, the more his natural curiosity is peaked and the more inclined he will be to try different food items and appreciate them. Whole grains, whole grain products and pulses are healthy carbohydrate options but should be given in moderation to birds with a tendency to become overweight. Animal protein can also be given in limited quantities in the form of fish, eggs, and lean meat. Table food perishes quickly and should not be left in a cage longer than 4 hours. Avocado, rhubarb and chocolate are toxic.”
https://cvlaval.com/en/exotic-services/fact-sheet/nutrition-parrots.html
 
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Laurasea

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Oh this one is great! A person who actually did observations of wild parrots and their food selection!
Parrot Diet | Feeding animal protein to parrots | Parrot Facts

From above link
“ One day, I observed as a group of Quaker Parakeets Myiopsitta monachus had gathered on some cowhides that were drying. The birds, I first believed, were eating the salt used to keep the skins from decomposing. Close observation from a blind I set up several days later, however, revealed that the daily visit was to seek bits of fat. Sometime later I spent time on Little Barrier Island in New Zealand observing Kaka Nestor meridionalis. The parrots would climb over a tree, test the wood and place their ear on the branch to listen. They were looking for large grubs, which formed part of the parrot diet on that cold and windy island. Subsequent observations have shown that wild parrots have a broad parrot food sources that commonly includes animal protein.“

“ In my collection each year I must worm the African Greys Psittacus erithacus. The pairs are kept outside in suspended cages but each year they become infected with tapeworms, which require an intermediate host. In our case that host is a snail. Snails are common in south Florida because of the lush greenery and humidity. They crawl around after a rain shower or during the evening. The African Greys seek them out like a child would candy. I have seen Grey Parrots trying to reach through the bars to grasp at snails, which they avidly consume. Indeed show them a snail and they display a great level of excitement. The behavior was learned from wild birds and has been passed down generation after generation. “

“ Parrots are opportunistic feeders, consuming what is available in their environment. They are primarily fruit, seed, pod, bark and leaf eaters but every species will ingest insects and animal protein. On a very few occasions I have seen the parrots intentionally seek animal protein — they hunted small lizards or took the chicks of passerines—but normally they ate these if the opportunity arose while foraging and not because they were being targeted“
 
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Laurasea

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On cage size, space, and normal physical movement fir a parrots. Cage availability, and cultural norms aside. A guide would be, are they doing stereotypical behaviors, are they showing signs of behavior stress, screaming, feather picking, self mutilation, or shutting down to lumps in a cage that dint engage with their environment, are they capable of doing normal behaviors like wing flaps and wing stretches, are they showing other signs mental stress?

Zoo cages / enclosure have evolved world wide, in order to more ethically keep animals. To promote natural behaviors, and eliminate unatural behaviors like pacing and swaying, hiding, aggression and more . And the importance of enrichment has. Evoke accept as a quality of life, health, and well being.

https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rearvision/the-ethical-history-of-zoos/6869776

Excerpt from above article

“ What was happening at that time was there was a great interest in the ethology and social biology of animals, and there were lots of field studies being done into animals and their ecology and behaviour.

'The idea was to use that knowledge to design new exhibits that were much more appropriate for the animals and allowed them to express as large a percentage of their behaviour as they would in the wild. There was much more extensive vegetation, the exhibits started to become larger, more complex.'

'You started to see the development in the 1990s of something called environmental enrichment. For instance, primates were fed by spreading seeds in the grass and they would pick through them, just as they would in nature, and it gave them something to do. There wasn't the sterility and boredom of previous older exhibits. The enclosure sizes allowed for larger, more naturalistic social groups for animals that lived in social situations.' “

And this one
https://zooshare.ca/the-evolution-of-zoos/

“Just as larger societal movements influenced zoo design of the past, so too do they influence zoo design of the present and future. Currently, with our focus on “the brain” (MRI technology etc) we are now designing zoos that reflect that focus.

Currently, Zoos are trying to create opportunities for animals to use their brains as they would in the wild–even if those opportunities don’t look like “the wild”. A good example of this is the Philadelphia Zoo’s new trail system, Zoo360, which allows animals to explore the Zoo above visitor’s heads. This campus-wide network of see-through mesh trails links similar animal habitats, so animals can use one another’s spaces in a time-sharing system. 2”
 
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Laurasea

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I think this sums up our ( fir sure my) goals for our parrots copied from link below

“We’re not truly trying to recreate the wild. We’re trying to create environmental opportunities, so the opportunities for new sensory input, exploration, freedom of locomotion…. The same functional needs and opportunities that animals have in the wild, without having to recreate the natural habitat.”3 “

https://zooshare.ca/the-evolution-of-zoos/
 

fiddlejen

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...Currently, Zoos are trying to create opportunities for animals to use their brains as they would in the wild–even if those opportunities don’t look like “the wild”. A good example of this is the Philadelphia Zoo’s new trail system, Zoo360, which allows animals to explore the Zoo above visitor’s heads. This campus-wide network of see-through mesh trails links similar animal habitats, so animals can use one another’s spaces in a time-sharing system...
Oh, I love it! Wish there was a way to do in-the-home, for our birdies!

[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=134&v=ymmoSFgWrMc&feature=emb_logo"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=134&v=ymmoSFgWrMc&feature=emb_logo[/ame]
 

SailBoat

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As near all of you know, our household works with older, commonly ill and normally abused Amazons. The vast majority of which come to us with no want to ever interact with Humans again.

With a goal of providing them an environment of abundant Love and zero expectations in which they can, if they choose, trust a Human again.

The sad reality of what we do is that as a result of their life prior to taking over our home, they die, in our opinion, much younger than they should... But, this has allowed us and our Certified Avian Vet (CAV) to clearly see what supports a longer life and what leads to a much shorter life.

Flight - The foundation of the design of Parrots! Parrots are by design fliers! Every part of their body is kept to a minimum needed to reduce weight and/or support the flight muscles!
- Parrots 'must' learn to fly just after they are weaned! If not, they will develop cardiovascular weakens, which will lead to heart /air sack (lung) failure. And, without intervention, they will die far before their time...
- Parrots that learn to fly young and are restricted will have stronger hearts and air sacks and as a result will live longer..

More later...
So very happy that this Thread is back on track!
 

SailBoat

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Continuation: Flight

The Large body muscles that support flight drive the cardiovascular system. Any flapping will drive freshened blood into those muscles and the full body. As the amount of uses increase, the cardiovascular system is strengthened.

Flight within the home or apartment: Since flight requires the development of skill sets, it activates / stimulates the mind and the bodies support structure both large (legs and claws - take-off and landings) and small (tiny hairs under the body feathers that define air pressure under and over the Parrots body) and all the many supporting systems. Although not as demanding as 'Free Flight,' the Parrot gains greatly when even limited flight occurs.

Yes, walking, climbing, etc., helps, but as with Humans when they use their massive leg muscles, Parrot's flight muscles drive their cardiovascular system.
 
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widor

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I know here on the forum are people from different countries, from all continents (except Antarctica of course :D). I don't really know if this is an interesting thread but especially in last year I see how much the parrot care is different here on the forum and on Polish groups and wanted to write as a curiosity.
My experience:
First few years (since getting 1st parrots) I wasn't on any forum or fb to contact with other parronts. The 1st place where I created an account was a Polish forum - there are mainly bird breeders and isn't really active. I gained a bit of knowledge there (eg I started bying more healthy food, understod I bought my fids in a wrong place). I would say there people were calm and nobody was inerfering in others opinions.
Next place was this forum. I didn't have any shock (except this one is very active) because I hadn't any chance to know the real Polish culture of parrot caring yet. So I knew the US parrot care culture first.
Next was Facebook. The 1st parrot group which I joined belongs to one of the mentioned Polish forum members. The group was very calm too. Once time another friend (met by the same forum) invited me to a big conure fb group and then I had a schock... In the first moment I was suprised they was sayng green cheek conures are conures (for me this was obvious but in Polish they aren't called conures) but later I saw they thought quaker parrots are conures too:eek: (Somewhere was a thread "Are quaker parrots conures" or something like this where I wrote more in details about it).
After few weeks my "forum-mate" started being attacked by other group members for.... having one parrot. And she wasn't the only one there... hopefully I wasn't really active there and avoided this (I have one conure too so also could be...). There also were some other attacks like somebody gives food from a shop because of from a garden... Well, posting a parrot in a cage was enough for the attack because wasn't let out!
We both left this group. Currently I am on few small and medium groups and nowadays I know this what I wrote is very common here :(


I think these are the biggest differences between these two cultures:
1. Having one parrot
As mentioned aboth - in opinion many Poles (and other Europeans) nobody should have just one parrot - but two, few or none. Some of us let having just one parrot in some cases, others will tell to buy another one...

I've seen about 2 times when somebody from Europe asked you here if this is true - can be just one parrot? I remember somebody wrote that this is common in Europe. Yes, this is so common - yesterday somebody told me to go for 25 years to the prison for thinking some parrots may be kept alone! Really! And it was on this forum which I thought is very calm...
Ps. I forgot to explain why they forbid having one parrot - because they are social and live in flocks in the wild

2. Mixing species
In opinion many Europeans: different species have different languages and they never are friends as seem to be. If somebody has one parrot of type A and one of type B they both are alone - here again is the point 1.
Exception are close realeted species eg green cheek and black capped conures or B&G and scarled macaws because their languages are simillar. But in these cases can't be bred. Here hybrids aren't tolorated in general.
if somebody has two parrots of type A and 2 of B and they tolorate each other this is ok here. I think the rules of aviary breeding are the same like in US.
3. Parrot tents
From what I read here you have to reasons why they are bad: some of them are so deadly and all of them may increase hormonal problems. The first reason also is here in Europe - to avoid famous happy huts. But... some Europeans say caiques, conures and some lorikeets must have a place for sleep. So here are done parrot tents from the safe material or given nest box even alone parrots.
But as mentioned this increases hormonal problems. I was talking with an expert who said that each parrot may have them. Yes, I agree but I mentioned about increasing not having... For these people it's not a reason why to not have. But why mentioned parrot types must have? Because they sleep in tree holes in the wild... The expert said only then they feel safe...
4. Wing clipping
I've seen many of you see pros and cons. Here most people see only cons.
5. Human food
Many people in Europe never give them. Some of them let parrots taking during letting out but others will not let them at all. Meat also isn't given at all.
Edit: This subject is a bit divided, Some Europeans let eat meat but others will forbid



This what I wrote is about Europeans which have a contact with other parronts. About 80% of all Polish parronts keep their fids in small cages, not letting out, without natural perches etc. But they aren't in contact with other parronts. They don't know about these points aboth what I mentioned.


Also, it's not like "all Europeans are like thsese". I know some tolorate wing clipping, having one parrot but often they are attacked by others (like me yesterday). Also I don't mean I am more by one side - eg I have one conure but I am against wing clipping. In some points I am divided between "US" and "Europe" opinion. But one thing I will never understand - why to attack others for different opinions? Ok, maybe sometimes I am angry when I see clipped wings... but I never said to go to the prison for it... lol
Finally: what if I show or mention this forum to Polish people?
Mentioned Polish expert: "It's just a forum"
Another person: "American forums aren't good sources - they feed their parrots fast foods!"


I hope nobody feels injured ;)
Hello from Hungary ,just my thoughts when reading all the forums on fb...😌
 

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